When I first heard about this movie months ago, I thought it sounded ridiculous. A killer bed? I'd already seen one killer bed movie, and it was laughably terrible. I was astonished to learn the team behind Bed of the Dead had never heard of Death Bed: The Bed That Eats before starting on their project. When Death Bed did finally show up on their radar, Jeff Maher tracked down Death Bed director George Barry and got his blessing to make another movie about a murderous bed.
The opening sequence gives you all the information you need about why the bed is cursed: it was made from a tree used in human sacrifices. Why the tree was cut down and made into a bed is, I guess, the plot of another movie. The point is, there's this bed and if you touch it, it will kill you. Maybe. Only if you deserve to die. If that sounds a little complicated or unclear, it's because the rules which govern the bed aren't well defined. The curse manifests in different ways, and the bed at times lures people in, and conspires to kill some its occupants while providing a lifeline for others.
In Bed of the Dead, a group of friends bribe their way into room 18 at a sex club for a four-way. Why room 18 in particular? Because it houses an emperor-sized bed. Why the bribe? Because that room and its enormous bed are off-limits. Shortly after the foursome climb into bed, the occupants start seeing things and it's not long before they realize they can't get off the bed for fear of excruciating death.
Meanwhile, a detective named Virgil is investigating a fire at that same sex club in which four people were killed when a bed caught fire. Past and present collide when the detective starts texting with one of the victims, and he must race against time to find a way to prevent the very thing he's investigating from happening.
Any cursed object, be it a doll, a house, or even a bed, must have some ground rules, and any good cursed object movie should include some well-paced kills and valiant attempts to break the curse. In Bed of the Dead, two of four people trapped on the bed die early, causing their plot to stall out, and there's nothing for the surviving characters to do but wait for the film to end. To his credit, Virgil accepts straight away that something weird is going on, and his investigation is the only plotline with any forward momentum.
I had expected the movie to be lighter than it is—it's about a killer bed, after all. But Bed of the Dead is deadly serious and I can't decided if this is a problem. The premise is so absurd that it almost begs to be a horror comedy, but some weighty social commentary is woven into Virgil's backstory, which soft of precludes any levity. The potential for humour is there, but it's not exploited.
On the upside, the film looks great. The bed itself is (was—it was destroyed in the film) a beautiful piece of furniture, and a great deal care went into every shot. Maher's background as a cinematographer shows through in his attention to detail, and the film is punctuated by some tense moments. If only the script had been scrutinized to the same degree.
Bed of the Dead played with It's All in Your Head, a kid-friendly movie about monsters. In it, a young girl conquers her fear of the monster in her closet, turning the tables on the terrifying creature. It was warmly received by the After Dark crowd, and I highly recommended it for horror lovers of all ages.
Viewed at Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2016Share: